Food Bank

Organization: Shanti Ashram
Location: India

Name of children/youth and ages

A group of Children started this initiative. Ages from 3 yrs and above

How did you come up with the project?

14-year-old Arunstands tall as the Food Bank he initiated; today serves many families living with HIV. Arun with hisfriends where real time testimonies to hunger and poverty in their neighborhood.Arun could not get over it, he couldn’t just stay quiet …he had to do something. His first step was talking to his friends and collecting donations for rice and ration for the families living with HIV. Today; this small step has led to the establishment of the Food Bank, a bank that serves hundreds of families with essential food items…a bank of solutions where people’s needs are responded to; with goodwill and generous hands. Today, Arun stands supported by thousands of children and youth in spirit and deed to break the vicious cycle of poverty & deprivation down the road and across the world. Our shared aspiration and collective strength draws both on our understanding of CHILD POVERTY and our shared commitment to BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD. Unequal distribution of wealth is a situation where available resources are not distributed evenly amongst the population. This is also the thought behind the Foodbank program. Gandhiji’s concept of Development is summed up as“Sarvodaya through Anthyodaya” implyingthe welfare of all. Principles of cooperation and collective endeavor are central to oursociety. Food bank is one of the small steps to reach the concept of Sarvodaya. Also, Food bank introduces the concept of charity to children and youth.

What steps did you take to implement your project?

STEP for CONTRIBUTION TRAVELS TO A FAMILY IN NEED… 1. Interaction withPartner institutions, Individual donors and volunteers ( Reception point ) 2. Receiving of the Donation (Collection Point) For example: Rice, Pulses, Oil and etc. 3. Deposition of the Materials in Food Bank storage unit (Issuing receipts with a thank you letter) 4. Monthly distributions to identified Beneficiaries ( Shanti Ashram’s core group families like people living with HIV, elderly people without families, single mothers and one of the care home for children living with HIV. 5. Distribution of the Food grains – During their support group meetings, nutrition literacy meetings.

What ethical reflections during activities based on the Learning to Live Together programme contributed towards collective actions by the group?

Arun he was one of our child from Balashanti Programme at Shanti ashram, He was participated in an introduction workshop on LTLT. He was very much inspired with the ethic core values like empathy and responsibility. This nurtured the benevolence in him and we all stand benefitted by his innovativeness that arose as a result of his empathy. As a Gandhian organization we encourage children and young people into volunteerism. Volunteering is an action carried out voluntarily according to one’s own free will and not as an obligation. Anyone who contributes voluntarily to a public or social cause such as cleaning a campus, laying a road, digging a soak pit etc, may be called a volunteer. Similarly anyone who helps a neighbor, a fellow citizen or any one in need is also a volunteer. Shramdaan is a Hindi word meaning voluntary contribution of labour for a public cause. Shramdaan or Shareerashram is one of the eleven vows declared by Gandhiji as essential for wholesome living. Gandhiji believed in the inevitability of manual or physical labour for earning one’s living. Shramdaan is volunteeringto make our community and environment to change for the better.It is important that youth involve themselves in Shramdaan, so that they imbibe values such as compassion, empathy, sharing, solidarity, equality, dignity of labour and most importantly peace.

Give three examples of interfaith and/or intercultural learning among the children and/or youth implementing the project.

1. The volunteers whose collecting and supporting to Food bank from different religions.The beneficiary those who get the benefits from Food bank also vulnerable children and families from different religions like Hinduism, Islam ,Christianity and Jainism 2. Food bank is common model charity unit at Ashram in which connect the children and Adult together from various religion join together to work for vulnerable needy people. Food bank collaborates with all faith based organization. For their community celebration day they contributing food grains from their community together like Christmas, Bakrid and Pongal celebrations are the main celebrations. 3. During the IDEP( International Day of Eradication of Poverty) programme on October 17th shanti Ashram with the help of youth volunteers conducting advocacy program with various schools on child poverty and its impact. The children from the schools collecting handful rice or grains contributed to food bank past 3 years the value of 1,50,000 Indian rupees worth materials the collected and contributed to Foodbank.

Explain how the project is sensitive to local contexts.

Food security entails ensuring adequate food supply to people, especially those who are deprived of basic nutrition. Food security has been a major concern in India. According to UN-India, there are nearly 195 million undernourished people in India, which is a quarter of the world’s hunger burden. Also roughly 43% children in India are chronically undernourished.[1] India ranks 74 out of 113 major countries in terms of food security index. Though the available nutritional standard is 100% of the requirement. According to global nutrition report, India is home to 194.6 million undernourished people i.e. three times the entire population of France. The country is home to over one third of the world’s stunted (chronically malnourished) children.The NFHS-4 has not shown an encouraging improvement in the nutritional status, especially among women and children. Over the past decade, the proportion of underweight children fell nearly 7 percentage points to 36%, while the proportion of stunted children (those with low height-for-age, a measure of chronic undernourishment) declined nearly 10 percentage points to 38%. Malnutrition should not be viewed merely as an offshoot of poverty having adverse effects on health and development of individuals but as a national problem that results in loss of productivity and economic backwardness. Time has come to create a moment so as to improve nutrition at the individual level.

Explain how the project contributes to the positive transformation of the community.

Food bank supports children living with HIV and their families. Assisi Snehalaya is a care home for children living with HIV. Totally around 150 families get benefit from this food bank. And around 700 to 800kgs of food grains aredistributied to these families. Everyone knows theCritical link between HIV, Health and Nutritional Security • The HIV/AIDS epidemic is having a devastating impact on human and economic development, food security and nutritional status, particularly in poor communities. • HIV/AIDS can have a disastrous effect on household food security and nutrition. As the Director-General of WHO Dr.Gro Harlem Brundtland has observed, HIV affects more people than it infects. All dimensions of food security – food availability, access and use – are at risk in environments where there is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Nutrition and its impact on the cognitive and motor development in children living with HIV, Nutritional predictors of Acute Respiratory Function, Nutrition and its implication in management of HIV related co-infections. Also Child poverty is the condition when children experience poverty as an environment that is damaging to their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual development.5 When talking about child poverty we should always remember the negative conditions such as poor household, its crowded space, lack of food, lack of nutrients in the food, unsafe neighborhood, poor learning conditions, lack of safe water, inadequate child care, under- resourced schools, lack of access to health care and poor communication facilities that the children are subjected to. These negative conditions of poverty affect all the four domains of child development outcomes, namely, physical, cognitive, social and emotional outcomes.Food bank supports vulnerable children and their nutrition. It provides a balanced diet during their formatives age.

How does the project contribute to further intercultural and interfaith learning among people in the local context?

The volunteers who are collecting and supporting Food bank are from different religions. The beneficiariesare vulnerable children and families from different religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Jainism Food bank is a common model charity unit at Ashram.It connects children and adults from various religions to get together for the vulnerable people. Food bank collaborates with all faith-based organizations. During the IDEP (International Day of Eradication of Poverty) programme on October 17th shanti Ashram; with the help of youth volunteers we conduct advocacy programmesin various schools on child poverty and its impact. The children from the schools collecthandful rice or grains and contribute it to the food bank.Over the past 3 years;grains of value 1,50,000 Indian rupees have been collected and contributed to ourfood bank.
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